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Broadside entitled 'Burking Shop Destroyed'



A particular Account of the Extraordinary Demolition of an Ana-
tomical Theatre, at Aberdeen, on Monday last, the 19th Decem-
ber 1831, which was Burnt and erazed to the ground, in conse-
quence of the sagacity of a Dog.

ON MONDAY, a few little boys, who were playing close
by a back court, observed a dog tearing up some substance
from the loose earth, gave the alarm, and, in a few minutes, 20 or
30 people were on the spot, when two lads finished what the dog
begun, and dug up a portion of the fragments of a human body,
when the crowd raised a shout of horror, and made for the doors
of the theatre. Two lads entered, and finding Mr Moir, the lectur-
er, in the place, assaulted him, turned him out and he escaped.
Part of the crowd, however, followed him to his own house, and in-
to a room, but Mr Moir leaped from a window, and escaped by
George's Street. The crowd, which had now increased to perhaps
a 100, rushed into the place, where they found three dead bodies
lying on boards. Cloaks, instruments, all the paraphernalia of the
place, instantly disappeared, part being destroyed, and part carried
0ff Information having been sent to the town-house, the officers
soon arrived at the place, and ordered the bodies to be taken out,
This was done, and when the mangled corpses were brought out to
the open air, and laid down on the ground, the loud yells of the
crowd, and their cries for revenge, baffile description. " Burn the
house....down with the burking shop!" was new the cry ; and
there being a fire in the place, the inmates tore down the plaster-
lath, and made every attempt to raise a fire, which they had, from
the want of materials, very great difficulty in accomplishing. Shav-
ings, fir, and tar-barrel staves, were, however, quickly obtained, and
great quantities of wood were brought and thrown in after the fire
had fairly taken effect. Cries of " Come out, come out, the house
is falling,"were now raised; and on going to the back ground we
found that the crowd had commenced undermining the back wall
with large planks, one of which they used as a lever, and the other
as a battering-ram ; and go quickly did they do their work, that
within five minutes after they had commenced to undermine, the
whole of the back wall fell down with a tremendious crash. The
blaze of the fire was now extraordinary, from the quantity of sup-
plementary fuel put on. The crowd, however, did not appear to
rest satisfied until the- place was fazed. Accordingly, they carried
their planks to the street, and set so work with the front wall. At
this time, the Lord Provost and Magistrates, and a great number of
special constables arrived ; and his lordship proceeded with great
firmness through the crowd, whom he addressed several times, and
stated, that if the feelings of the public had been hurt in this case,
every enquiry would be made, and every satisfaction afforded .His
lordship was loudly cheered. In the meantime, a party of the 79th
regiment had been marched out of the barrack, but it was deemed
advisable to bring them no farther than Schoohill, from which they
entered into Gordon's Hospital, where they were stationed until the
end of the drama. About four o'clock a fire engine was brought ;
but it seems as if the crowd would not allow it to work?in fact,
no water could be had. In about an hour the front wall fell, leav-
ing only the two gables and the roof standing, which formed a great
burning arch. The scene which now opened upon the view of those
near the building was awfully sublime. Attacks were now made
upon the gables, and, after, a great deal of exertions, the two walls
and the roof fell together, amid the loud and continued cheers of
not less than 20,000 individuals. The crowd then began to retire,
although large portions of them still kept together ; and one division
having observed a student of medicine, as they were moving away,
they immediately pursued him, hooting and vociferating obnoxious
terms. The gentleman ran, and finding the mob gaining upon him,
he took refuge in a house in Schoolhill, which in a moment was
surrounded, and threatened to be demolished, unless the object of
their vengeance was turned out Crowds poured in from every
quarter, but it being understood that the student had escaped by a
back window, they began to disperse. Fart of them, however, fell
in with another student, whom they chased into the Guestrow; but
it appeared that he had doubled some corner and eluded their pur-
suit. They made a stand, however, before a house in Guestrow,
where bodies had formerly been discovered, and threatened its safe-
ty; but eventually dispersed, and by ten o'clock was perfectly quiet

Menzies, Printer, Edinburgh.?Price One Penny.

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Date of publication: 1831   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(6)
Broadside entitled 'Burking Shop Destroyed'
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